Lions boot Vikings on Thanksgiving to grab control of NFC North at 7-4

DETROIT.MI - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions passes the ball to Anquan Boldin (80) for a first quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on November 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DETROIT.MI - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions passes the ball to Anquan Boldin (80) for a first quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on November 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DETROIT — Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal as time expired gave the Detroit Lions a 16-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings in a battle of 6-4 NFC North Division leaders on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field.

The triumph marked the Lions’ fourth straight victory on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit has now played on every Thanksgiving since 1945.

Just 18 days earlier, the Lions edged the Vikings 22-16 in overtime in the Twin Cities.

This time, Detroit jumped on top 7-0 early, soon after Aretha Franklin’s rousing rendition of the national anthem, when a Lions drive culminated in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Anquan Boldin with 7:14 to go in the opening quarter.

Minnesota then put together a drive of its own and knotted the count at 7-all on a 5-yard scoring run by Matt Asiata with just 40 seconds remaining in the opener. The score stayed that way until 6:45 was left in the first half when Prater’s 29-yard field goal put Detroit back in front 10-7 — a margin that stood up until intermission.

That score held up until 7:03 showed on the clock in the third period when Kai Forbath booted a 30-yard field goal for a 10-10 deadlock.

In the final frame, Forbath’s 28-yard field goal at the 12:38 juncture gave the Vikings their first lead at 13-10. Prater then retied the score at 13-13 with a 48-yard field goal with just 1:45 to go.

With time running out, Darius Slay intercepted a Sam Bradford pass and returned it to the Minnesota 20-yard line, setting up Prater’s last-second heroics.

The Lions improved to 7-4 overall entering a Sunday, Dec. 4, trip to the Superdome to take on the News Orleans Saints.

The Vikings dipped to 6-5 overall and have now lost 5 of their last 6 games after starting off the season with a 5-0 record. Minnesota’s next outing will be next Thursday night, Dec. 1, when it hosts the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Both Detroit and the Vikings are still perched atop the NFC North standings in first and second place, ahead of the Green Bay Packers at 4-6 and the Chicago Bears in the cellar at 2-8 on the season.

Minnesota is the defending NFC North champion while Green Bay also qualified for the playoffs as a wild-card team last season.

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